AVON — No one has been the hero, or defined Freight Magic, more in Lake Erie Crushers history than Andrew Davis.
It was only a matter of time before the longest-tenured Crusher delivered another walk-off winner.
With two on and nobody out in the bottom of the 10th Sunday, Davis drilled a 2-0 pitch down the right-field line for an RBI single, scoring Craig Hertler from third and giving Lake Erie a 5-4 win over the Frontier Greys in front of 1,438 fans at All Pro Freight Stadium.
The Crushers ended the first half on a two-game winning streak and are 16-11 at The Freight with no more home games before the Frontier League All-Star break next week. They improved to 24-21 overall with six games on the road before the break.
“I’ll take the win,” Crushers manager Chris Mongiardo said. “That was Davis’ third game-winner for us, but his first walk-off. He had two game-winning hits up at Traverse City (last week). Hopefully he’s starting to feel a little bit better up there.
“It seems like he’s more comfortable up there. He said he’s been seeing the ball a little bit better and he’s been able to track pitches all the way into the mitt.”
The 10th began when Greys reliever Paul Mittura (0-1), in his second inning of work, walked Hertler. He then gave up a single to left to the red-hot Emmanuel Quiles to put men on the corners.
Quiles absolutely feasted on Greys pitching over the weekend, going 6-for-14 (.429) with seven RBIs during the three-game series. He raised his average from .296 to .311.
“Quiles had a pretty good day today again,” Mongiardo said. “He’s come up big this entire series.”
That brought up Davis, who is second in league history in RBIs, and he drilled a 2-0 curveball just inside the foul line. He never stopped running until his teammates caught up with him at second base to mob him.
“It’s always one of those things you can never get enough of,” said Davis, who went 2-for-5 with two RBIs as he continues to recover from an offseason injury. “I was looking for something up in the zone to hit in the outfield. I got a 2-0 curveball up and just tried to hit. I got lucky, I guess.”
Davis said he was a little surprised the Greys elected to pitch to him instead of issuing an intentional walk to set up a force at any base.
“It’s kind of one of those things where, if you walk me, you’re getting to our best hitter,” Davis said. “(Vincent) Mejia is hitting over .300 and he was hitting the ball pretty good this week.
“And I’ve been struggling. I’m still not into midseason form yet.”
Mejia, who had home runs in the previous two games, was 0-for-3 Sunday.
Prior to the 10th, the Crushers’ big hitter was Ryan Hutchison. He tripled in the third and hit a solo home run in the fifth — his third of the season. The blast kick-started a three-run inning that gave the Crushers a 3-1 lead. All of Hutchison’s home runs have come at The Freight.
Three straight two-out singles by Hertler, Quiles and Davis accounted for the other two runs in the fifth.
Lake Erie pitching gave up two leads before Davis bailed it out.
Starter Mickey Jannis, who had cruised through three innings, allowed two two-out RBIs in the top of the sixth to tie the game at 3. Reliever Brad Zambron allowed a two-out solo home run to Chris Ellison in the seventh to knot the game at 4.
“(Jannis) has been getting better each time out,” Mongiardo said. “He went six strong up in Rockford and he was really in a rhythm. I think he lost his rhythm a little bit in the sixth. He didn’t get hit that hard, but six innings and three runs is a good outing.”
Brad Duffy, Ryan Connelly and Jason Wilson (5-2) — the latter with two scoreless innings — kept the Greys off the board and set up the walkoff winner.
- Crushers hitting coach Joe Charboneau was ejected before the third inning by home plate umpire Jeremy Stangelo for arguing from the dugout. Charboneau believed that Kevin Franchetti was hit by a pitch in the third, but Stangelo ruled that it was a foul ball
- The Crushers, along with American Revolution Wrestling, announced they are hosting a pro wrestling card titled “Brawl at the Ballpark” on Sunday, Aug. 16. Ex-WWE stars Scott “Razor Ramon” Hall and Sean “X-Pac” Waltman will headline the event, along with Lorain native Scott “Hot Body” Summers. For more information, visit www.LakeErieCrushers.com or www.AMRevWrestling.com.
Contact Dan Gilles at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.